Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the United States and disproportionately affects minority populations. We sought to explore the quality of life in urban, minority stroke survivors through their own photos and narratives. Using the Photovoice method, seventeen stroke survivors were instructed to take pictures reflecting their experience living with and recovering from stroke. Key photographs were discussed in detail; participants brainstormed ways to improve their lives and presented their work in clinical and community sites. Group discussions were recorded, transcribed, and coded transcripts were reviewed with written narratives to identify themes. Participants conveyed recovery from stroke in three stages: learning to navigate the initial physical and emotional impact of the stroke; coping with newfound physical and emotional barriers; and long-term adaptation to physical impairment and/or chronic disease. Participants navigated this stage-based model to varying degrees of success and identified barriers and facilitators to this process. Barriers included limited access for disabled and limited healthy food choices unique to the urban setting; facilitators included presence of social support and community engagement. Using Photovoice, diverse stroke survivors were able to identify common challenges in adapting to life after stroke and important factors for recovery of quality of life.
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